Started out a great ride rolling down Highway One to Santa Cruz. It was a little foggy, but that just helped keep up cool on the steep coastal climbs. Lunch at the lighthouse was bathed in sunshine. But the weather really started to deterioerate on the second half of the ride. I had abandoned my jacket and wind vest with the SAG vehicle and was regretting it as we rolled through the strawberry fields on Watsonville. Then we hit the headwinds and it was just murder all the way to Sand City. Miles 118.47mi Ride Time 7:15:17 MPH 16.4 mph Max Speed 42.7 mph Elevation Gain 6,293 ft Flats 0
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A very foggy day in the city (until the end when we had a nice lunch at the Ferry Building). A brave crew of about 8 of us tackled Fillmore. It was a lot of fun. Sort of a slow ride, but enjoyable nonetheless. Miles 38.66 mi Ride Time 3:03:36 MPH 12.6 mph Max Speed 42.4 mph Elevation Gain 2,984 ft Flats 0
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Leading the Humane group with Fred. Started as a stupidly foggy day. Moist weather casued lots of flats going up Tunnel. I was lucky and avoided any trouble. The skies broke when we hit Contra Costa County and we had a really nice ride up and over the Three Bears.
I convinced the small group I was riding with to stop at the Espresso Roma Cafe in Berzerkly for a quick lunch on the cyclist-friendly terrace. Miles 48.54 mi Ride Time 3:51:27 MPH 12.8 mph Max Speed 43.9 mph Elevation Gain 4,142 ft Flats 0
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Had a nice casual day riding with the Humane group. Perfect weather for riding. Could have done with a little more sun block. Lots of fun until right before the last turn, maybe 50 meters from where my car was sitting at the Union City BART parking lot, I had a blow out. It was really strange. As I pulled to a stop at the light, the front tire started to hiss and I as I looked down to see what was going on it popped. Sounded like a gun shot. The tire had been blown off the rim which is pretty freaky. Lucky for me it didn’t happen when I was a descending Arastradero.
I wheeled the bike the block or so down the BART station. I’ll fix the flat later, but I really want to know why it happened.
Miles 56.71 mi Ride Time 3:50:54 MPH 14.9 Max Speed 35.6 Elevation Gain 2,081 ft Flats 1 (blow out)
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It was a perfect day for the 24th Annual Oakland Yellowjackets kick-off ride. Mid 70s. Blue skies. Little wind. It was just what you wanted for a nice 20 mile cruise out to Alameda and back. The turnout was impressive. I’d guess there were at least 200 riders there. And I’ve never seen more club members actually wearing their jerseys. It was really impressive. I took lots of photos of both the ride and the picnic afterwards.
I was eager to get started this morning. I really love this ride. But the weather was conspiring to make this a potentially very ugly day. So it was with some trepidation that I clipped in and headed out to BART. Immediately I was hit by a wave of cold wind that made me want to change to my mind about riding in Marin.
I sucked it up and carried on, but I did change my plan of riding to the West Oakland BART. Instead I rode up the street to the much closer Ashby BART. That decision cost me a lot of time and resulted in me being late for the start. I hate being late for the start because the roll out is one of the unique aspects of club cycling that I enjoy.
The train pulled into Embarcadero at exactly 9:20, the time I was supposed to be a Red’s Java House. Another tough decision. Should I go to the starting point where someone might be waiting for me or just get my ass on the road and hope I can catch up before we hit the bridge?
The day got off to a really bad start. Delays on BART. They’ve jacked up their prices, reduced there service and they still have delays. It’s really a sad state of affairs for public transportation in the Bay Area.
Then it was cold. Below 50 when we departed from Concord BART around 9:25—late start because of the delay. There were about 25 cyclists assembled there. Only a handful from the Advanced group: Richard, Joe, Randy, Joan and Donelle. The rest were Humanes with some non-members thrown in for good measure. No intermediates.
So I had a tough decision. Hang with the big boys and have a tough quick ride or hang back with the Humanes and take it easy. I chose the former because I felt pretty and I wanted to test out my new drive train. It was a smart decision.
While I couldn’t keep up with the hammerheads the entire way up the climb, I did manage to hang in there from the Morgan Territory decent, which made for a fast, fun ride.
The new drive train (cogs, cassette and chain) worked like a dream. Shifting was smooth as silk. Gears were not slipping at all. And I didn’t have any of the power issues that have been plaguing me all year.
Morgan Territory is a beautiful long climb out east of Mt. Diablo. Home of massive houses, horse ranches and very cars. The narrow tree-lined road snakes up to 2000 feet over about 8 miles. It starts out gradual for the first half and then slowly builds with a serious of small terraces. There are a couple of 9% grinders, but nothing too bad. Now that the road has been re-paved, it’s really a dream climb. It felt fantastic when I arrived at the summit. I was behind Richard, Joe, Joan and Randy, but ahead of Donelle who usually leaves me in his wake.
At the top there was a large group of people out training search a rescue dogs. Maybe a dozen German Shepherds. I thought it was all very cool until I stepped in a pile of steaming soft dog shit that was hidden by the tall grass. The group waited somewhat impatiently while I used the spigot and a stick to remove the fecal matter from my cleats. Fucking nasty.
There’s a brief climb up to the real summit before the descending starts in earnest. For me it’s one of the scariest descents we do. The road is decent, but it’s so narrow and if a car is coming up the other way, there’s precious little room to pass. Plus there’s a 15% section that is downright frightening. On top of that, it was bitter cold. By the time I got to the bottom, I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes and my entire face was numb. it was miserable.
We waited for Richard was severely underdressed even with the newspaper he stuffed in his jersey back at Concord BART, he was still a popsicle on the descent.
Then we were in for a treat. Highland Road from Manning to Camino Tassajara is one of the prettiest we ride. Rolling hills wind through horse and ranch country. This time of year, everything is green. It’s just so idllyic. There’s a small shallow climb to the saddle and then a fun turny descent.
The rest of the ride is just about getting back to BART and getting home. Balckhawk, Danville, Alamo all go by in a blur as we pacelined up to Walnut Creek. We cranked out almost 19 miles in the third hour alone. It was nice to get done early, but the pace took a huge toll on my still fragile body. Miles 47.72 Ride Time 3:07:49 MPH 15.2 Max Speed 38.5 Elevation Gain 3,058 ft Flats 0
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I’m still fighting the bike on all hills of any stature and it feels like a losing battle. That said, it was a nice change of pace to climb Calaveras in the spring. It was about 80 degrees instead of the normal 100+ we get in the middle of the summer. Instead of scorched hills and frying pan pavement, we have emerald green slopes and perfect roads.. We also saw a bald eagle roosting on a electrical tower near the summit. Too bad the battery on my camera died.
Along with the usual problems of fitness, energy and power that i’ve been suffering from, this week, allergies were thrown into the mix of maladies. I don’t usually suffer from allergies, but the massive amounts of pollen and flower in the air, especially on Redwood Road, were just killing me. I had trouble breathing. My chest felt constricted. It was really awful.
I did manage to hit a season high 44.1 mph coming down from Calaveras, which was pretty sweet. And Raquel came down to Milpitas to pick Dan and me up which saved us both the 6 mile trudge back to the Fremont BART and 45 minute train ride back to civilization.
It’s really notable to compare the first three hours of this ride with last week’s ride which were exactly the same from Lake Merritt to Sunol, about 40 miles.
The first hour was really comparable. A little faster yesterday than last week, but not much of a difference. But there was a huge fall off for the next two hours. Part of that I can chalk up to the headwind that we fast going east and south that prevented us from descending Redwood Road and Dublin Grade very quickly. Some of it was due to the pollen, but when it comes down to it, I should be getting stronger and faster and I’m just not. That is a bit of a worry. Miles 60:04 Ride Time 4:15:12 MPH 14.1 Max Speed 44.1 Elevation Gain 4,479 ft Flats 0*
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